Philippe Gilbert Enjoys His First-Ever Grand Tour Lead
Philippe Gilbert looked very focused on the sea side of Marbella at the start of stage 3 of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana. He even tried to hide that he had gone to the Castillo de Gibralfaro and scouted the uphill finish by car in the morning but the news was broken by his team-mates.
Philippe Gilbert looked very focused on the sea side of Marbella at the start of stage 3 of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana. He even tried to hide that he had gone to the Castillo de Gibralfaro and scouted the uphill finish by car in the morning but the news was broken by his team-mates. However, the other riders in the bunch didn't need to know that for naming him as the hottest favourite for the stage victory.
The Belgian specialist for the classics added to the stage win his first leadership in a Grand Tour. He was delighted to get the red jersey. "It's a nice surprise", he commented. "I had been second on the results sheets of the Tour de France once behind Alejandro Valverde after stage 1 in Plumelec (2008). It was also an uphill finish. I was once classified sixth at the Giro. I've been close to the jersey before but I didn't get it. Now I'll do my best to respect this red jersey."
The 28 year old won in Malaga in the same way he claimed the Amstel Gold Race in April. "This one was a similar climb as the Cauberg", he analysed. Gilbert is a happy man. Three weeks prior to his first stage win at the Vuelta, he married his girlfriend Patricia on August 7 in Belgium. Their first baby is expected in two months from now. When he crossed the line, he kissed a jewel to send her a message of love. But he has set his sight on another event as well. "I came to the Vuelta for gearing up for the world championship and with the ambition of winning a stage", he said. "The second goal is already reached."
Gilbert doesn't hide his ambitions to become the world champion at the 2010 Road Cycling World Championships in Geelong, Australia, on October 3rd. "The toughness of the course has been underestimated by many favourites", he noted. "If it's a sprint at the end, there'll be a maximum of 25 to 30 riders. We might see the same riders who usually perform well at the World's. I've seen that [Russia's Alexandr] Kolobnev is here with the same aim as me, which is working for the team and training well. [Filippo] Pozzato and [Daniele] Bennati should be there for Italy, [Simon] Gerrans will play at home and of course [Oscar] Freire is always a man to watch."
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